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Gas Prices on the Rise: What Can Be Done?

6:29 PM, Mar 6, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y.- These days, the "pain at the pump" is less like temporary discomfort and more like a chronic illness.

Back in July of 2009, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) told WGRZ: "Something is wrong with gas prices in Western New York. Obviously there is something wrong with gas prices in all of America."

Three years later, the affliction seems only to have gotten worse.

Nine months ago, Schumer asked the Federal Trade Commission to do an investigation into oil refineries, specifically why they are not all operating at 100 percent capacity; it is still under investigation.

Last year, President Obama asked a commission to look into the oil industry as a whole.

Now, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul (D-26th) is one of several lawmakers calling for more government regulation when it comes to oil speculation.

"We have to make sure the government has a hand in this part, because the consequences are too dire right now, we can't let these unregulated speculators drive up the price of oil," said Rep. Hochul in a phone interview Monday night from Washington, D.C.

Hochul says she would also support a federal gas tax holiday, adding that there are some plans in the works that she will be watching closely. The federal tax on gas is 18.4 cents a gallon; New York state's tax on gas is much higher.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says she also supports a federal gas holiday.

"If we can lower the tax on it, even for a short period of time, that can be very helpful to make ends meet and also to keep the economy moving," said Sen. Gillibrand.

Schumer said he would consider a gas tax holiday, if it actually lowered the price at the pump.

Schumer Spokesman Matt House issued the following statement:

"Senator Schumer would consider a gas tax holiday, but any effort must be structured in a way that actually lowers the price at the pump. In past attempts, oil companies have simply pocketed the savings rather than passing them on to customers at the pump. At a time of sky-high profits for oil companies, we can't let that happen."

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